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RUSSERT: But if it troubles her, out of respect for Mrs. Miller and her son Aaron Austin, will you stop using his name and her name? RICHARDSON: Yes, I will. I will do that. But we just have different recollections, Tim, and–but, but that family is honorable. I attended that service. I was really moved. You know, I call as many of the mothers of New Mexico soldiers that’ve been killed. But no one will ever question my commitment to help our veterans. I was in North Korea. I rescued–I helped rescue, helped push forward the release of–many years ago–of, of an American helicopter pilot. So I believe very strongly that we have to stand up for our veterans when they come back, coming back PTSD, they’re not getting the help that they deserve. RUSSERT: But if Mrs. Miller feels used, you would SSCP TRAINING apologize for it. RICHARDSON: Well, Tim, I–that’s where I learned about this death benefit. There was an individual there that saw a piece of paper being given to me. I, I don’t want to get into this. I want this to–I respect that woman. I will not mention it again. RUSSERT: And you’re sorry? RICHARDSON: Well, I’m sorry for the way she feels, but I believe I acted honorably. Look at the result. The result was $400,000 life insurance for New Mexico National Guardsmen that served and then 30 states that covered all their veterans. They followed New Mexico’s lead. They followed my lead. The federal death benefit, which was shameful, $11,000, $12,000 is now significantly higher. RUSSERT: Let me turn to immigration. Last week this is what all the newspapers said. “The Senate’s compromise immigration bill is forcing the presidential candidates to confront a divisive issue. New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson praised the bill. ‘This legislation makes a good start” towards “re-securing our Southern border.'” A few days later this headline appeared. “Hispanic presidential hopeful confronts immigration debate. On Wednesday Richardson said that after ready the immigration bill in detail, he decided to oppose it, saying the measure placed too great a burden on immigrants, tearing apart families that wanted to settle in the U.S., creating a permanent tier of second-class immigrant workers and financing a border fence. This is fundamentally flawed in its current form and I would oppose it. We need bipartisanship, we also need legislation that’s compassionate. I’m not sure this is it.'” How can you be for it and 72 hours later against it? RICHARDSON: Well, no, this is what happened. I was announcing for president, and the day before, I saw a summary of a bill that had been proposed in the Senate. And the summary, I believed, contained essential elements of a comprehensive immigration reform bill. One, that there be tougher border security, doubling of border patrol agents. That’s good. And two, a legalization program for the 12 million that are here. Three, it also contained penalties for employers that knowingly hired illegal workers. I thought that was all good. The bill is then presented, and I read it the next day, and it contained some problems. Now, I praise the Congress and the president for, in a bipartisan way, putting something forward that is a good start. But the problem, Tim–look, I deal with this issue every day. I’m a border governor. Two years ago, I declared a border emergency in New Mexico because the flow of people and drugs were harming New Mexico. So I have strong qualifications on this issue. I’ve been dealing it–with it for years. The problem with the immigration bill, the way I read it now, Tim, is one, it separates families. It gives–it gives too much credence to job skills rather than families. The essence of all our immigration laws have been to preserve families, and this separates families. Secondly, a guest worker program. The guest worker program, first posting, should be to protect American workers to have the, the top job, to, to have the jobs and not the guest workers. There are no labor protections for those guest workers. And then third, what I also saw in the bill that was not reported in the summaries is that it’s good to have more border guards, and we have to double them, and there’s been a problem because the federal government has not trained enough to make that happen. But the fence, the fence, the wall between Mexico and the United States, there’s more funding for it. This wall is wrong. This wall is a terrible symbol between two countries that are friends. And you’re going to have a 10-foot wall, and what’s going to happen is there’s going to be 11-foot ladders going over that wall construct… RUSSERT: The wall hasn’t worked? RICHARDSON: No, it hasn’t worked. RUSSERT: Anywhere along the border, the fence hasn’t worked. RICHARDSON: It hasn’t worked. What has worked is more border patrols. What has worked is some National Guardsmen. What has worked is some technology. It’s made the program better. But, Tim, we got to talk to Mexico, our friend, get them to do more. PMI TRAINING In fact, get them to stop giving max–maps to illegal workers on the most porous areas to court. And we also need to raise the legal immigration limits, the backlogs of workers that we need–Europeans, others that–Indians, H1B visas for job competitiveness skills. RUSSERT: I’m going to ask you in a second about a comment made by Brian Sanderoff who analyzes public opinion in, in New Mexico. But listening to you, you declared a border emergency, and yet you’re against the fence. You were for illegal immigrants obtaining driver’s licenses, and you were for legislation that would permit illegal immigrants’ children to get college scholarships. It seems as, as if you’re on both sides of the issue. This is what Brian Sanderoff said: “That’s Bill. He’s hard to pigeonhole as being definitely anti-immigration or pro-immigration. He’s going to take a middle stance where he’ll seem to have positions on both sides of the fence.” RICHARDSON: I’m a governor. I have to deal with this issue every day. Driver’s licenses, law enforcement said to me we’ve got concerns about leaving the scene of a crime. If you want to find a way to keep illegal immigrants, you know where they are, you give them a driver’s license. It helps with–they all get insured, it helps with traffic safety. I believe education is the key. Yeah, I was for kids of illegal immigrants, if they fulfill the same academic requirements as New Mexico kids, to be eligible for a scholarship. Tim, I believe we have to bring the 12 million undocumented workers out of the shadows, set up a standard where they speak English, if they pass background checks, pay back taxes, obey the laws, embrace American values, give them a chance, a path to citizenship, not amnesty.


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